A DIY, Home Funeral Guide 

 Image via  Susan Bodenner

Image via Susan Bodenner

I recently wrote a DIY funeral guide for an online casket site, Harbor Caskets. It was a great experience and allowed me to put “what I plan to do” into written form. 

For any of you who have organized or have attended home or DIY funerals: What did you like about the process? What didn’t you like? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Death Colloquy: A Conversation

 Memento Mori by  Rebecca Wood

Memento Mori by Rebecca Wood

My friends and I are hosting a local event (Lawrence, Kansas) concerning death. If you’re interested, please come! Information below…

Hosted by: 

Abbie Stutzer of Gather the Leaves 
Cara Schuster of Fox Den Folk Care
Marcy Sanz of Down to Earth Natural Cleaning

Join Marcy, Cara, and Abbie for an evening of casual conversation about various topics concerning death.

The Death Colloquy will hold its inaugural meeting at the Lawrence Public Library (meeting room B) from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. on October 30, 2018. The first topic we will discuss will concern how people celebrate their loved ones who have died.

During this week, many people celebrate their loved ones who have since passed on. We’d like to celebrate this time of year by inviting the public to come and chat about the ways they’ve honored their now deceased loved ones. Note: This is not a grief support group. We’re open to talking about grief, etc., but please note that we are not licensed mental health professionals. 

Our group will continue to meet on the last Tuesday of every month going forward until further notice. Days may alternate to accommodate a wider audience. 

For more information about our hosts and their businesses, feel welcome to visit the following sites:

Down to Earth Natural Cleaning

Fox Den Folk Care

Gather the Leaves

RSVP here

An Introduction

 Early morning sunrise in Lawrence, Kansas.

Early morning sunrise in Lawrence, Kansas.

Although this is a business, this business is basically, well, me.

So, I thought it appropriate to give you some information about the person you’re considering hiring, or have hired.

I’m Abbie Stutzer (she/her/hers). I grew up in Olathe, Kansas. 


I studied political science to make a difference and better understand the political system. I minored in peace and conflict studies to have the opportunity to study different cultures, and better understand how various protest tactics help communities survive and thrive. I went to graduate school for journalism to apply what I learned during my undergraduate studies. Since 2008, I’ve reported on various topics; some fun—organic beauty and cooking—others serious—human rights and LGBTQ+ issues.  For more information on how I decided to become a death doula, visit my about page


I was introduced to death as a concept and reality when I was around 3 years old. I aspirated during surgery and technically died for a portion of time. The experience greatly influenced my life. As a young child, I was terrified of death and dying. However, as I grew older, and began facing the reality of my experience, I started to have a greater appreciation for that event. Although no person should have to go through what I did, I’ve decided to look at this happening in a positive manner. Everything I saw, felt, etc. has allowed me to better appreciate life and death, the circle of life, and the seasonal flow. 



Pet love

My mom has always joked that my first cat, Snowbird, was my unofficial caregiver. The little black ball of fuzz showed up on my parents’ front porch before I was born. Through my life, he tattled on me when I was bad, showed me affection when I was sad, and taught me patience and compassion when he died at the ripe cat age of 22.



Puff, also known as the white ball of fuzzy terror, showed up… you guessed it… on my parents’ front porch, too. Although Puff was a bit of a grump—he had a severely broken hip that required pins, which were uncomfortable—he was my cat.  He sat with me when I showered, slept with me at night, and was my buddy. He died from a seizure at 14 years of age in front of me. Although the experience was sad, I am thankful I was there for him at the end of his life.



Each dog I had while growing up taught me so much, too. Scrappy, my first dog, taught me to be gentle. Daisy, the first dog I got to pick at a shelter, taught me to be cautious and always aware of my dog’s surroundings. Maggie, my parents' first dog after I moved out of their home, taught me patience. And Josie, their last dog who recently died of cancer, taught me to remain hopeful.

 Stuntman Mike

Stuntman Mike

Currently, I’m the proud caregiver of Daphne, a 13-year-old beagle, Cash, a 5-year-old beagle mix, Rapture, a 10-year-old cat, and Stuntman Mike, a 4-year-old cat. I look forward to sharing my caregiving experiences with them, with you, here.


In the coming month, I hope to share interviews with local veterinarians about end-of-life pet care, death doulas about their work, green cemetery activists, and a funeral director on how they manage to give families—and the dead—what they want. I look forward to connecting with you then!